Where Y'Eat

New Orleans writer Ian McNulty hosts Where Y'Eat, a weekly exploration and celebration of food culture in the Crescent City and south Louisiana.

Ian gives listeners the low-down on the hottest new restaurants, old local favorites, and hidden hole-in-the-wall joints alike, and he profiles the new trends, the cherished traditions, and the people and personalities keeping America's most distinctive food scene cooking.

 

Subscribe to Where Y'Eat as a podcast:

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2. Go to the File Menu, click on Subscribe to Podcast…

3. Enter this URL: itpc://wwno.org/podcasts/6095/rss.xml

And that’s it! New episodes download automatically.

Ways to Connect

Off bottom cultivation is bringing a different flavor to Gulf oysters.
Ian McNulty

Oysters make people happy. That’s a simple truth that resonates deep, and goes beyond satisfying an appetite or even a craving. It’s something as visceral as the raw oyster itself, bursting with the essence of the tides. It can instill a sense of well being bordering on euphoria.

In New Orleans today there are many more ways to chase this bliss. As the number of eateries serving oysters has increased, so have the variety of oyster bar types in which to partake, depending on your style, your mood or your budget.

The chicken parmesan po-boy at Sam's Po-Boys in Old Jefferson
Ian McNulty

Picture a po-boy filled with chicken fried steak, or another holding a clutch of New Orleans-style hot tamales, just gushing grease. Conjure the prospect of a chicken parmesan po-boy under a thick cap of chunky meat sauce. And how about a po-boy filled with sliced wieners all soaked with pepper gravy, or yet another encasing slices of hog headcheese fashioned in the form of gumbo?

Where to get such creations? A boundary-pushing pop-up, a modern food truck on the make?

Roux Carre, a new food court from a local nonprofit in Central City.
Ian McNulty

In its natural habitat of shopping malls and concourses, the food court is set up for convenience and speed, offering a spread of ready options.

Transport the idea of a food court to a particular New Orleans neighborhood in the midst of change, however, and put a nonprofit business development group in charge, and you have something different. In the case of Roux Carre, it’s a food court designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs take a step up in the burgeoning business of New Orleans dining.

Grilled shrimp with crunchy vegetables makes for a modern po-boy from Killer PoBoys in the French Quarter
Ian McNulty

To have great po-boys, you need someone who can make the bread just right. You need someone with a good line on affordable, high-quality seafood and someone with no fear about perhaps applying too much roast beef gravy. The other essential ingredient is the customer with a local palate, the customer who will disregard national ad campaigns and coupons and bypass a rogue's gallery of fast food brands to get to a respectable po-boy shop.

Ian McNulty

The banh mi has come a long way in New Orleans from the days when we had to call them “Vietnamese po-boys.”  Always a traditional favorite in Vietnamese communities, for food lovers elsewhere these delicious, multi-textured sandwiches have grown from something exotic, to a comfort food craving, to the launch pad for new ideas. 

Traditional German food at the Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

There’s nothing strictly seasonal about weinerschnitzel or bratwurst. But dine around New Orleans during October and you might think we were witnessing just a brief window of availability to enjoy these traditional German dishes.

The reason isn’t the season, of course, but the theme, and that’s Oktoberfest, which is not any one event anymore but an entire month of eager encouragement to guzzle beer by the stein and tamp it all down under a mat of sauerkraut and sausage.

Boudin from the New Orleans butcher shop Bourree at Boucherie.
Ian McNulty

Travel around Cajun country and it seems that no town is too small to have its own a car wash, its own dance studio and its own butcher shop — one with tasso and andouille and a universe of smoked, trussed, seasoned, stuffed and double-stuffed meats, and hot links of boudin and paper sacks of cracklin’ to eat on the spot. 

Only recently have more of those Cajun meat markets been turning up in New Orleans, but now more New Orleans neighborhoods can claim their own.

Off bottom cultivation is bringing a different flavor to Gulf oysters.
Ian McNulty

If we're at the oyster bar, and we're in Louisiana, when we talk about trying something new, we're usually not talking about the oyster.

New might mean sampling a cocktail sauce with a little extra mojo in it, or maybe even field testing some new jokes the shucker picked up. But for the oyster itself, we know exactly what to expect.

Ian McNulty

All around New Orleans, the sounds of the season signal cooler weather ahead. Some of these speak directly to our appetites too.

If you heard a sharp snap one recent morning, it might've been the sound of New Orleanians collectively switching off their air-conditioners at the start of a dramatically cooler day.

Soft shell crab tacos at Sun Ray Grill, a neighborhood eatery in Gretna.
Ian McNulty

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